Elections board selects new voting system for Lancaster County

The VerityVote system from Texas-based Hart InterCivic has been selected as Lancaster County’s next voting system.

The company, which was the only one that met all of the criteria outlined by the county Board of Elections last fall, was unanimously selected by the board Wednesday morning.

However, the matter of payment is still up in the air.

The machines will be purchased for $2,710,994, with the plan being to implement them for the November election.

The state mandated last spring that all counties update their voting systems by the 2020 primary, following warnings from federal authorities that Russian hackers had targeted the state.

The Pennsylvania Department of State ordered all counties to replace their voting systems by the end of 2019 with systems that generate “voter-verifiable paper records.”

While the county’s current system — purchased in 2006 — is still viable, it was not certified by the state after the required date of Jan. 1, 2018 and thus must be replaced.

Lancaster County will be receiving roughly $539,000 in federal reimbursements, but so far no concrete financial assistance has been offered by the state, leaving local taxpayers on the hook for the rest.

Commissioner Craig Lehman said he recently emailed Lancaster County’s state delegation imploring them to find funding for the expense.

The board’s vote Wednesday was only for which type of machine to purchase, not how it will be paid for. The county commissioners will discuss financing at their meeting Tuesday.

Hart supplied the county’s previous voting equipment, and only faced Clear Ballot of Boston as competition for the county contract.

Both companies presented their machines during a public presentation in April at the Lancaster County Public Safety Training Center in East Hempfield Township. Attendees were able to test out the new systems, each featuring paper ballots and machines to scan and process them.

Director of elections Randall Wenger explained the Clear Ballot machine did not meet the board’s requirement that the system be able to correctly list cross-nominated candidates and so it was not recommended for purchase.

Wenger said most voters will experience minimal change as the majority have been voting on paper ballots already. Changes may be more pronounced for ADA voters, and Wenger is working on organizing information sessions for voters who will be using the ADA system.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

SAM JANESCH | Staff Writer

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